"Little did we know in 2009 just how far the citys restaurant scene could travel," says London Restaurant Festival (LRF) founder Simon Davis. The month-long extravaganza is turning ten this year: October sees a vast array of food-related events taking place across the metropolis. More than 60, including tasting menus from Monica Galetti, Jose Pizarro and Ben Chapman and talks with acclaimed culinarians Pierre Koffmann and Andrew Wong, hosted by critic Richard Vines.
2018 will salute the landscape's international nature, with top cuisines being represented: Bill Granger is flying in from Australia to cook, husband and wife Dylan Jones and Duangporn 'Bo' Songvisava from Bo.Lan in Bangkok team up with Som Saa, and Galician Javier Olleros is also here to work alongside Nieves Barragan Mohacho at Sabor.
A staple has always been the restaurant-hopping tour, where diners pick an area and get the opportunity to enjoy a course at five different places in that neighbourhood. The ultimate way to feast around a part of town. Two excursions will take place here in St James's, one British-based, the other reaching further afield. The former includes Duck & Waffle Local, Magpie, Stem, Fishworks and Heddon Street Kitchen; the latter and features courses at Ikoyi, Sakagura, Milos, Tibits and Momo. An exclusive sector with a long-established reputation as the home of fine dining and innovation, modern fuses with traditional to create a truly original dining district.
What to expect at... Ikoyi
This intimate space in St James's Market draws guests eyes with its terracotta colour palette. Specialising in West African cuisine, it's named after the prosperous quarter of Lagos.
Kick proceedings off with a Palm Punch, a transparent concoction of rum, tiger nut and spices. Then peruse the concise menu: for dinner, a blind tasting menu is usually served, based on seasonality. During London Restaurant Festival, guests can savour Iberico presa suya and hibiscus miso, with celeriac egusi. At other times you may encounter smoked crab jollof rice, a fiery yet delicate plate, butter-soft octopus and peas or aromatic and spicy duck uda.
Everything is presented on bespoke, eye-catching and colourful ceramics.